Review: “The Incredible Journey” by Sheila Burnford

For the love of books

Sheila Burnford bonded three characters together and set their strenuous journey across the forests of Canada, a mutual test of survival skills and personal devotion.  The resulting novel is about one unique modern odyssey.

First of all, the travelers themselves have almost no human aid during their desperate return to their real home.  Secondly, human involvement in the storyline itself is very limited.  The Incredible Journey, with its harsh but beautiful landscapes and firm acknowledgement of nature’s supremacy over all living creatures, centers on its main characters.  Luath, Bodger, and Tao are as diverse companions as any could be, which is proven by their striking differences.  Luath and Bodger are two dogs as opposite in “personality” as in breed, while Tao is a Siamese cat with a true hunter’s instincts and a deep hatred for his own kind.  The individual temperaments the author has given her unlikely trio make these pets seem almost human in their relationships and actions.

Burnford also distinguishes her narrative by the emotions and deep understanding of one who truly loves animals.  Readers who are not as sympathetic toward the animal kingdom may learn from Burnford’s comparisons between humanity and savagery when her human characters are in contact with the animals.  Ultimately, the author warmly portrays the underlying connection between the pets and their owners, the true cause of the mysterious trek.  The story has action and adventure in its own way but without any usual expectations; the hardships the main characters face from encounters with other animals and with humans are very numerous and create enough friction without any pauses in the storytelling.

The Incredible Journey does not lack originality on the author’s side, nor is it an insipid work of fiction.  Throughout the novel, Burnford emphasizes above all else that her tale’s main theme is one of the best—the strength of unselfish love between genuine humans and their animal friends.

Original review: ‘The Incredible Journey’ is a novel for people who love animals, Examiner.com

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